Grand Master Weatherly started Martial Arts training in 1961 in Korean Yudo (Judo). After 1 year Great Grand Master Jae Sun Ji began teaching Hapkido Sun Moo Kwan in the same building. Master Weatherly became his first American student. Back in those days classes were held 7 days per week. If you did not attend every available class, you were generally considered a poor student ("Pa Ja")! A PaJa, because of his lazy attitude, was never taught any of the advanced techniques, and was only shown simple, basic skills. Classes were very physically, intellectually and spiritually demanding, and a great number of the students never lasted through their first month of training.
As the founder of Hapkido Sun Moo Kwan, Grand Master Ji would frequently travel to teach his Korean students in different states and countries. Many different Korean Masters also stayed at Grand Master's Ji's Dojang (Training Center) to learn how to teach Americans. Master Weatherly trained with and literally "grew up" with dozens of Korean Martial Art Masters during his early career, including many Korean national champions in TKD, Judo and Kumdo (sword).
When Master Weatherly was only 15 years old, Grand Master Ji decided to return to Korea. Having no family, Grand Master Ji had always looked at Master Weatherly, being his most advanced student as an adopted son. He turned over control of the Dojang to Master Weatherly in 1972. Although this was a great honor and even a dream come true, it was also a large responsibility for such a young man.
Grand Master Ji reminded Master Weatherly of the many legendary Korean Hwarang leaders who actually lead soldiers into victorious battles at the same age. Master Weatherly accepted the role of Martial Art Instructor and school owner and trained relentlessly in all aspects of the various martial arts. He also continuously studied modern business and motivational methods from hundreds of mentors, seminars, and other sources.
During this time Karate Tournaments were considered a good way to make a name for yourself and your school. Master Weatherly began competing in the various "rough and tumble" types of tournaments, including traditional karate, Tae Kwon Do, Tang Soo Do, and full contact/kickboxing. He competed in over 500 tournaments in the USA and several other countries, earning numerous state, national, international, and Grand Champion titles.
He was nicknamed the "Headhunter" because of his lightning fast kicks to the head, and developed quite a reputation for winning with excellent technique and sportsmanship. Although retiring from active competition over 20 years ago, he is still respected to this day as a legendary competitor, coach, trainer and tournament referee.
Tournaments were usually attended by people who practiced a martial art that only did kicking and hand strikes (Tang Soo Do, Karate, Tae Kwon Do) since their arts were more suited toward the allowed techniques. Master Weatherly's Hapkido was radically different from their simpler styles so the tournament directors began asking Master Weatherly to demonstrate the style at their events. The flashy throws, control holds, and weapon techniques of Hapkido Sun Moo Kwan were something they had never seen before and absolutely blew them away. Master Weatherly has given Hapkido demonstrations at over 200 TKD/TSD championships in the USA and Canada alone. His efforts have done much to promote the growth and popularity of Hapkido worldwide.
January 2008 marked Master Weathrely's 47th year of unbroken Martial Art training and teaching, He is a full time martial artist and continues to teach classes every day at the World Martial Arts Academy in Fenton, MI.